Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for July 6th, 2022

Slowly Advancing

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I love slow-motion replays. When I was little, I wanted so badly to be able to perform an athletic maneuver in slow motion while playing football in the yard. The closest we ever came was playing in the winter in deep snow surrounded by the padded insulating layers of our snow pants and jackets. We didn’t fall any slower but the landings were softer. It was easier to pretend we were moving in slow motion.

Watching radar images of advancing thunderstorms is a different version of slow motion. We can see it coming, but can’t do anything about the ultimate timing of arrival. It’ll get here when it gets here… if it doesn’t use up all the energy before then. My favorite MPR weather blog pointed out a whopping 86°F dew point in Iowa yesterday afternoon that combined with a 90°F temperature to create a heat index temperature of 121°!

That seems like the kind of extreme heat that could cook up some impressively stormy weather.

Yesterday morning at our place felt rather otherworldy. We walked out into a landscape that looked like we no longer had any neighbors. Our high dew point temperature was making it feel remarkably tropical. There were so many droplets falling from the tree leaves it sounded like it was raining in the woods. A thick fog was obscuring the view of anything beyond our property lines.

Days like this strain my senses to reconcile how dramatically different it is here during the frozen desolation of winter. I don’t tend to think about the changes between those two extremes as happening in slow motion, but obviously, the transition takes months.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about another thing changing in slow motion. It came to my attention via some television programs that included scenes of life in Europe in the 1930s and the early episodes of fascist intimidation. It is hard for me to imagine what that was like in light of the knowledge of where it led and the ultimate atrocities that transpired. It makes me want to shout at those people in history to not let it happen.

It causes me similar discomfort to witness rhetoric and animosities happening in the present day that has an eery similarity to 1930s Europe. There are moments when I experience the uncomfortable sense that I am living during the beginnings of a slow-motion transition away from democracy and acceptance toward an intolerant and authoritarian political philosophy.

The politicization of the US Supreme Court feels so wrong and shows no signs of reversing course. The long game being played by those who sought to reverse the law allowing women to choose to have an abortion by electing a president who would appoint judges to achieve their goals is very much a version of slow motion.

It disturbs me to witness the slow-motion trends happening in the present given the outcomes of authoritarian intolerance that played out multiple times throughout the world in the past.

It’s a jarring contrast to the innocence of my dreams of slow-motion leaping and diving in real-time when I was a kid.



Written by johnwhays

July 6, 2022 at 6:00 am